Show You

Zena Koo

Show You is a darkroom installation that you log-in to with your Instagram account wherein you will "develop" a projected random image from your feed by moving a photo paper in a developer tray.

Show You is an immersive environment reminiscent of a darkroom where photos from one's personal Instagram account are displayed dynamically through projection and motion tracking in a darkroom tray.

Link to Show You's log-in site.

I researched the technical aspects of making this concept come alive, like Python, the Instagram API, OAuth personal account authorization process, MAX/Jitter objects.

Holders of Instagram accounts or anyone who takes lots of mobile photos.

User Scenario
Prior to entry, the visitor logs-in to allow the app to access their Instagram content. In a space reminiscent of a darkroom, the visitor is prompted to "develop" an image from their Instagram feed as they would in a real darkroom. By gently moving the photo paper that is immersed in the tray, a randomized image from their Instagram feed will appear on the print according to the motion, mimicking that magic moment in the darkroom developing process when the photographer first sees their image start to appear on print. The visitor would see the image(s) projected from underneath and through the water onto the print, refracted--"filtered".

Show You is made up of a web app from which the user allows access to their Instagram account, a physical booth/darkroom, a clear-bottom developer tray through which the web cam tracks motion of the paper and the projection shines onto the paper, a sink basin stand upon which the developer tray sits and which houses the projection and web cam equipment, many safelights that hang above, a prop darkroom timer, tongs, and a hanging (drying line) empty frame into which the second projector shines the just-developed image.

The tools I used were Python, the Instagram API and its OAuth authentication protocols, and MAX/Jitter for the downloading of images off of the site, the developing effect, motion tracking, and screen splitting (with the DualHead2Go by Matrox).

I discovered that making a single installation out of the several I proposed for a full exhibition about one's online life was quite a lot of work, and that I'm glad they made me choose one. I also learned that 14 weeks goes by quickly.

The darkroom experience made users contemplative of their memories and quickly-shot pictures, and my users were surprised and delighted when they were recognizing, finally, what image they were developing.

I was told that the hanging frame is superfluous and I will make the next version of Show You without it.